Mackinder reloaded : the emerging role of international security institutions in the global scramble for Central Asia

Authors: Contessi, Nicola
Advisor: Hervouet, Gérard
Abstract: Numerous regional security organizations have emerged in Central Asia since the end of the Cold War under the leadership of one entrepreneur nation. Whereas multiple security externalities stem from the region, if institutions are really in place to reduce the transaction costs arising from the need to negotiate agreements that guide interstate cooperation, wouldn’t one be sufficient? If, on the other hand, institutions are irrelevant as neorealists argue, why such proliferation of acronyms? Starting from the insight that “it is cooperation that makes the exercise of power possible” (Moe 2003: 12), this thesis assumes that since the end of the Cold War, major powers have been prone to using multilateral intergovernmental institutions as a means of wielding influence in the region. It is suggested that multilateral institutions represent a strategic option that alternative policy instruments, such as bilateral agreements, do not match. Their specific value is that they generate opportunities to legitimize claims, form coalitions, and crystallize power relations. This is quite different from saying that institutions are merely a reflection of existing power relations, as much realist literature does. Rather it suggests that institutions have a role in creating and shaping power relations. But it also differs from the transaction costs approach which neglects the power dimension. The research develops a framework to explain the respective agency of China in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Russia in the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and the United States in NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Partnership. This framework advances two hypotheses which postulate that institutions represent the intervening variable for entrepreneur states to: 1) foster control over the associated member states; and 2) Deny attempts to exercise control to rival institutional projects or major powers. Empirical evidence lends significant support to the mechanism described by the first hypothesis, but is insufficient in the case of the second one, though institutional outputs are consistent with the expectations of the hypothesis.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2012
Open Access Date: 18 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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